Another Pesto Dish: Whole Wheat Fusilli with Grilled Zucchini, Haricot Verts, and Pine Nuts

Whole wheat fusilli with grilled zucchini, haricot verts, and toasted pine nuts in a basil pesto sauce. Finish with plenty of grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

There is nothing like the sharp basil aroma of a pesto dish. In order to make the sizes of the ingredients consistent, I sliced the haricot verts and zucchini slices into thirds. This way you can get everything onto one even forkful.

Ingredients (for 2 generous servings): 1 cup fresh basil leaves, lightly packed, 1 cup haricot verts trimmed and sliced into thirds, 1 small zucchini, sliced into strips lengthwise, about 2 cups (maybe a little more) organic whole wheat fusilli, 1/2 cup plus more grated Parmigiano Reggiano, 1/2 cup plus more extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon lightly toasted pine nuts, 1 clove garlic, pinch of salt

Recipe: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile make pesto. Combine the garlic, salt, basil, and nearly all of the toasted pine nuts in a food processor. Start to add the olive oil slowly through the feeder tube, processing as you go. Add the grated reggiano. Pulse to combine. Continue to slowly add the olive oil through the feeder tube. Adjust with more basil leaves, olive oil, or reggiano according to taste.

Heat a grill pan and drizzle with olive oil. Add the zucchini strips and sprinkle with salt and pepper. They should be thin enough that they take only a few minutes on each side. Cook until they have nice grill marks. Toss the remainder of the toasted pine nuts onto the hot pan to preserve their warmth.

Cook the pasta according to the directions. Add the haricot verts a few minutes before the pasta is done cooking. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until tender. You don’t want them too crisp or they’ll taste uncooked against the pasta. Skim the top of the water with a spoon and set this starchy pasta water aside.

Remove the zucchini and cut into thirds. Drain the pasta and the haricot verts, immediately return to the pot over a very low flame, and drizzle with olive oil to keep moist. Quickly add the pesto, zucchini, and pine nuts. Mix gently to combine. Add pasta water by the spoonful if the pasta feels too dry.

Serve immediately with lots of grated Parmigiano.

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